Union wants apology for Eurostar delay driver

12 May 2008

UK Eurostar drivers are demanding an apology from SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy who wrongly accused a British driver of being to blame for a 10-hour delay on the 2000 Eurostar from London to Paris on 18 April.


M. Pepy told reporters that the driver did not follow the correct procedures in the repair manual, and that this caused the delay for some 640 passengers. This has now been shown to be incorrect, but the French rail boss has not retracted his remarks. ASLEF members have demanded a full apology and are incensed that the Frenchman named the driver wrongly accused of causing the problem.


‘Our people feel very strongly about this,’ says ASLEF official Graham Morris. ‘They feel they deserve an individual and collective apology. Investigations have shown that the driver did exactly what he should have done. Managers at Eurostar UK have a great deal of sympathy the union position.


‘The French say that the delay was caused by ‘a diagnostic error by the driver of the faulty Eurostar’. The important words are ‘faulty Eurostar’ – not ‘train driver’.


At a meeting yesterday ASLEF members working on Eurostar said they would consider taking action if M. Pepy does not retract his accusations. ‘A further meeting has been arranged next Friday to determine how to proceed,’ Graham said.


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